Halifax Index 2023
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Halifax Index 2023

The year 2022 in Halifax felt … intense.

Population growth smashed previous records as international and interprovincial migration each broke their own records. The addition of almost 21,000 people to Halifax in 2022 was close to double the previous annual record and just shy of the total number that arrived here over the entire 2008 through 2015 period.

Despite the massive inflow of people and the related increase in the labour force, Halifax also hit a record low for the unemployment rate and a record high for the job vacancy rate. We are now in the midst of the tightening labour market that demographers have been predicting for many years.

GDP growth in 2022 was elevated as Halifax continued to ride the wave of recovery from the pandemic and its associated shutdowns in 2021.

Growing pains felt particularly acute in 2022 as well. The average house price accelerated rapidly, hitting a record high in April. Similarly, average apartment rents jumped to new highs in 2022, while the vacancy rate returned to its all-time low. These trends in the real estate market, along with price increases in food, energy, and other items, generated inflation rates unseen since the 1980s and a significant drop in purchasing power for the average Halifax consumer.

Anxiety levels intensified as commentators speculated on the likelihood of a recession, when widespread layoffs might begin, and how many bankruptcies would occur as COVID income support programs ended and interest rates climbed. This unease was visible in plummeting scores for both business and consumer confidence.

However, we have yet to see any metrics that would signal the onset of a recession. Mass layoffs have occurred in big-tech companies elsewhere, but not here in Halifax. Debt and delinquency statistics remain at historically low levels and show minimal signs, at least so far, of rapidly inflecting upwards.

Finally, in the grand scheme of things, Halifax appears happier in 2022 than it was in 2021. The mean score in our life satisfaction survey rose and the share of Halifax residents reporting low levels of satisfaction dropped.

We can continue to feel optimistic about our future as we recognize our growing pains and find new and better ways of addressing them.

How Halifax Measures Up

Every year, the Halifax Index provides an overview of our city's economic and community progress, giving insights to strengthen and grow Halifax. This 12th annual edition continues to measure Halifax's growth across a wide range of key indicators and progress towards Halifax's Inclusive Economic Strategy goals.

Traditionally, the Index has compared Halifax against five other similarly-sized Canadian "benchmark cities" – St. John’s, Quebec City, Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo (KCW), Regina, and Victoria.

This year, however, we are making a change. Halifax has garnered significant attention lately for its rapid growth, vitality, and attractiveness to people, businesses, and investors. There is a growing sense of confidence here and a recognition that we must – and can – compete with not only similarly-sized communities, but also with Canada’s major cities.

Thus, we have established a new set of ten benchmark cities that keeps some previous peers, provides broad regional representation, and firmly establishes Halifax as a player in the big leagues. These new benchmark cities are: Halifax, St. John’s, Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo (KCW), Winnipeg, Calgary, and Vancouver.


With 4.5% growth (20,713 new residents), Halifax’s population hit 480,582 in 2022 – the second-fastest growing CMA in Canada. From July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022, Halifax welcomed the largest number of immigrants (12,391) and interprovincial migrants (8,093).


In 2022, Halifax’s labour force grew to 265,600 – its largest number ever. Of those ages 15 years and older, 67.5% were either employed or actively seeking employment. A total of 11,600 new jobs were added to the market, and the unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level on record at 4.9%.


Amid high inflation and rapidly rising interest rates, Halifax’s Business Confidence Index fell to its lowest level since 2017, and the Consumer Confidence Index fell to an all-time low since measurement began in the 1990s.


This section takes a closer look into communities within Halifax using maps and other data visualizations. We explore topics like the change in population across regions, demographics, affordability, commuting trends, and the Downtown core.


In 2022, Halifax’s household income per capita grew by 3.7%, but inflation was almost twice this rate at 7.3%. Consequently, purchasing power for Halifax residents declined by 3.6%. This was the third-largest decline across benchmark cities.


The mean well-being score of Halifax residents improved from 6.7 in 2022 to 7.6 in 2023. Asked to rate their satisfaction with life today on a scale of 0 (worst) to 10 (best), 66.8% of respondents gave a score of eight or higher.

Real Estate

Home prices soared to new heights in 2022, but the number and the total dollar volume of sales both fell below 2021 levels. Apartment rents also reached a record high while apartment vacancy rates remained at an all-time low of 1.0%.

Strategy Scorecard

Learn about how Halifax has been doing as we move into the second year of People. Planet. Prosperity. Halifax’s Inclusive Economic Strategy 2022-27. Metrics for GDP, population, labour force, and well-being all moved a step closer to their goals.

Thank You

To our sponsors and partners who helped us develop this year's Halifax Index.

Index 2023 Sponsors

Looking for a previous index?

View previous years' Index publications by visiting the Halifax Index Archive below.

Reach out to us

Ian Munro

Chief Economist

Connect with our team.



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